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Trump to suspend duty-free benefit for Rwanda clothing under Agoa

Used clothes on sale in Kangemi, Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Used clothes on sale in Kangemi, Nairobi. US President Donald Trump has said he will suspend duty-free treatment of clothing imports from Rwanda due to its imposed barriers on mitumba imports from the US. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

US President Donald Trump said on Thursday he will suspend duty-free treatment of clothing imports from Rwanda under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa).

President Trump has cited Rwanda's barriers to US exports of used apparel and footwear as the reason for the suspension.

In a letter to the US Congress, Trump said Rwanda’s duty-free status for apparel will end in 60 days if no corrective actions are taken.

The Agoa trade programme provides eligible sub-Saharan countries duty-free access to the US on condition they meet certain statutory eligibility requirements include eliminating barriers to US trade and investment.

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Petition

The action followed a petition by the US used clothing industry last year alleging that planned bans by Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda on used clothing and footwear harmed the industry.

But the US is continuing Agoa benefits for Tanzania and Uganda because both have taken steps toward eliminating used clothing tariffs and committed not to phase in a ban of these products, the US Trade Representative’s office said in a separate statement.

“I commend Tanzania and Uganda for taking corrective steps to address the United States’ concerns,” Deputy US Trade Representative C.J. Mahoney said in a statement.

“We have and will continue to work with Rwanda to resolve this situation.”

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